Friday, November 21, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Spain: King abdicates for his more popular son

By
June 04, 2014 |

MADRID — King Juan Carlos, who led Spain’s transition from dictatorship to democracy but faced damaging scandals amid the nation’s financial meltdown, announced Monday he will abdicate in favor of his more popular son so that fresh royal blood can rally the nation.

While the monarchy is largely symbolic, Juan Carlos’ surprise decision may hold implications for the burning issue of Catalonia, which is to hold a secession referendum this fall.

A constitutional revision is required to ensure Crown Prince Felipe’s first-born daughter will succeed him, and there was speculation other changes might be made to dull secessionist fervor in the wealthy northeastern region.

Juan Carlos said 46-year-old Felipe is ready to be king and will “open a new era of hope.” The son already has greater command over the hearts of his people: Felipe’s 70 percent approval in a recent El Mundo newspaper poll dwarfs Juan Carlos’ 41 percent.

Juan Carlos didn’t mention the scandals or Catalonia, or specify what issues his son must prioritize as the next head of state. He stressed only that Felipe will need to “undertake the transformations and reforms demanded by today’s circumstances and to address the challenges of tomorrow with renewed intensity and dedication.”

In his nationwide address, the king said he started making plans to give up the throne after he turned 76 in January.

Since then, Spain has embarked on a sluggish but steady economic recovery. Its biggest problems are a 25 percent unemployment rate and Catalonia’s drive to hold a secession vote in November – labeled illegal by the central government in Madrid.

Spain is expected to change its constitution to ensure Felipe’s daughter, Leonor, can succeed him, should Felipe’s wife get pregnant again and give birth to a boy, who would become monarch under the current constitution.

Changing the rule on succession could open the door for additional changes, including demands by the opposition Socialist Party to grant Catalonia more autonomy or special financial benefits to blunt separatist sentiment there.

“I think both parties could agree on a change to accommodate the needs of Catalonia,” said Antonio Barroso, a London-based analyst with Teneo Intelligence, a political and business risk consulting firm.

Still, Catalonia’s president, Artur Mas, said the king’s abdication would not derail his plans to hold a vote on succession. “We have a date with our future on Nov. 9,” Mas told reporters after the speech.

“There will be a change in king, but there won’t be a change in the political process that the people of Catalonia are following.”

The abdication was first announced by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, who said he hoped for a quick handover but did not specify when because the government must first craft a law creating a legal mechanism for the abdication and for Felipe’s assumption of power.

Rajoy said he would preside over an emergency cabinet meeting Tuesday to draft the law, which is assured of passing because his center-right Popular Party has an absolute majority in Parliament.

Far-left parties urged a national referendum to abolish Spain’s monarchy and called nationwide protests Monday night. Tens of thousands took to the streets in Madrid, Barcelona and other cities demanding a vote on whether to rid Spain of its royal family descended from the Spanish branch of the House of Bourbon.

“Send the Bourbons to the sharks!” Republican flag-waving protesters shouted in Madrid.

On the throne for 39 years, Juan Carlos was a hero to many for shepherding Spain’s democratic and economic transformation.

His popularity took a big blow following royal scandals, including a 2012 elephant hunting trip at the height of Spain’s financial crisis when he broke his right hip and had to be flown from Botswana home aboard a private jet for medical treatment.

The king’s image was also tarnished by the investigation of his son-in-law Inaki Urdangarin on suspicion of embezzling large amounts in public contracts.

Juan Carlos’ youngest daughter, Princess Cristina, was forced to testify in the fraud and money-laundering case targeting her husband, an Olympic handball medalist turned businessman. She became the first Spanish royal to be questioned in court since Juan Carlos took the throne.

In his speech, the king played down his health issues and praised the crown prince.

“My son Felipe, the heir to the throne, embodies stability, which is the hallmark of the monarchy as an institution,” Juan Carlos said.

Felipe would presumably take the title King Felipe VI. He has a law degree from Madrid’s Autonomous University, obtained a master’s in international relations from Georgetown University in Washington and was a member of Spain’s Olympic sailing team at the Barcelona games in 1992.

He is married to Princess Letizia, a former television journalist. Their daughters are 8 and 7.

Like his father, Felipe has traveled the globe trying to maintain Spain’s influence, especially in former Latin American colonies, and to promote the nation’s international business interests. As head of state he would represent Spain at summits and other official events.

King Juan Carlos came to power in 1975, two days after the death of longtime dictator Francisco Franco. He endeared himself to many by putting down an attempted military coup in 1981 when he was a young and largely untested head of state.

As Spain’s new democracy matured and the country transformed itself from an economic laggard into Europe’s fourth-largest economy, the king played a largely figurehead role.

He was a stabilizing force in a nation with restive, independence-minded regions like Catalonia and the northern Basque region.

Juan Carlos melded the trappings of royalty with down-to-earth, regular-guy charm.

At a palace photo opportunity Monday afternoon, the king joked about the hordes of journalists covering the event.

“You’ve never been so interested in coming here like you are today,” he said with a smile, declining to answer questions about his abdication.

After the March 11, 2004, Madrid terror bombings, he showed he could grieve like anyone else. At an emotional state funeral for the 191 people killed in the train bombings, Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia went row-by-row through Madrid’s Almudena Cathedral, clasping the hands of sobbing mourners or kissing them on the cheek.

His popular image changed during the financial crisis. After the elephant-hunting trip, many questioned whether a hereditary monarchy was needed and whether it was worth the cost in the face of deep austerity measures.

The World Wildlife Fund’s branch in Spain ousted Juan Carlos as its honorary president – a title he’d held since 1968 – saying the hunt was incompatible with its goal of conserving endangered species.

Juan Carlos took the unprecedented step of apologizing for his actions.

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 1 comment

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • Rick WoodJune 03, 2014 - 9:47 pm

    It's a gift to know when it's time to move on and to have the ability to bow out gracefully.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

Solano high school students bring robotics to Shanghai, China

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Hanukkah Festival added to Holiday in the Park

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1, 1 Comment

Holidays present seasonal entertainment

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
Fairfield on film celebration set Saturday

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
Memories of Thanksgiving Days gone by

By Tony Wade | From Page: A2

 
 
Man shot at Suisun City apartment

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3, 8 Comments

 
Fairfield police log: Nov. 19, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Suisun City police log: Nov. 19, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
.

US / World

Emotions rise as people hear immigration plan

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 1 Comment

 
Obama spurns GOP with expansive immigration orders

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 38 Comments

Congress can’t ‘de-fund’ Obama on immigration

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 1 Comment

 
A look at the numbers in Obama’s immigration plan

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 4 Comments

California sheriff criticizes Obama on immigration

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3, 5 Comments

 
California tuition hike fight shifts to Sacramento

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

PG&E fined over alleged secret dealings

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Deal divides billions in closed nuke plant’s costs

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Feinstein: Drought relief bill out for this year

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 2 Comments

 
GOP’s success in House races ends in California

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 2 Comments

Insurance sign-ups outpacing first year enrollment

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Man who killed co-worker, cut out heart released

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 4 Comments

St. Louis region prepares for Ferguson decision

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Union: Ferguson officer does not expect charges

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 2 Comments

Florida State shooter was well-liked but troubled

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Officials downplay debates over Ebola aid response

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

NOAA: Globe sets 5th hottest-month record of 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Roofs collapse as New York clobbered by more snow

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Hearing draws apology, admission in air bag mess

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Protesters, police clash in Mexico before marches

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Egypt acquits doctor in female genital mutilation

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Slain beauty queen, sister buried in Honduras

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Boko Haram said to kill about 45 people in Nigeria

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Israeli mayor’s ban on Arab workers ignites uproar

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

.

Opinion

Editorial Cartoons: Nov. 21, 2014

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: A11

 
Thank you to businesses that support veterans

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11

 
 
Thank you for saving my purse

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 2 Comments

Why are we still changing clock times?

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 17 Comments

 
.

Living

Today in History: Nov. 21, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: Nov. 21, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

I have several part-time jobs and have no time or money for a personal life

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

 
Horoscopes: Nov. 21, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

.

Entertainment

Week in preview Nov. 21-27, 2014

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
Mike Nichols, crafter of films, plays, dies at 83

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Hollywood pays tribute to Mike Nichols

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Five memorable movies from Mike Nichols

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Highlights from Mike Nichols’ multi-genre career

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Review: Revolution gathering in ‘Mockingjay

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Handler apologizes for watermelon joke at awards

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
O’Keeffe painting sells for record $44.4M in NYC

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

TV Land pulls ‘Cosby Show’ from lineup

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3, 1 Comment

 
Mysterious sculpture recovered from River Seine

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Entertainment calendar Nov. 21, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: B4

 
How a ‘tiny hamster’ video gets made

By The Washington Post | From Page: B5

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
James Nesbitt as a father whose child disappears

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

.

Sports

Intense Boldin keeps making big catches for 49ers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Bulldogs, Wildcats into SJS quarterfinals

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B7

Raiders snap 16-game skid with 24-20 win vs. KC

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Giants confident they’re in Pablo Sandoval chase

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Bills’ home game against Jets relocated to Detroit

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

AP source: Bermuda to host 2017 America’s Cup

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
FIFA to review World Cup corruption report

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Union appeals Adrian Peterson’s suspension

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Lewis in range of big prize at Tour Championship

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Hendrick gives Kahne 3-year contract extension

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
NASCAR: Johnson says Harvick was correct winner

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Jared Goff growing into role of Cal’s ‘Golden Boy’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
JC volleyball: Falcons have 4 players earn all-BVC honors

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B8

Manfred given 5-year term as baseball commissioner

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
This week in sports history for Friday, Nov. 21, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

 
Cousins, Gay lead Kings past Bulls, 103-88

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

Bjugstad leads Panthers to 3-2 SO win over Sharks

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

 
Prep football capsules: Week 12

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B10

.

Business

LaCrosse rides Buick’s high reliability rating

By Ann M. Job | From Page: C1

 
Ford gets the aluminum F-150 ready for prime time

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

Soaring generic drug prices draw Senate scrutiny

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
US home sales rise in October

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

US unemployment aid applications fall to 291,000

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
Country of origin label for meat cuts endangered

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

Polls: Employers still prioritize health coverage

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
New Mexico lawmakers grill spaceport boss

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

Family gets $6.75 million in Botox treatment case

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
Gap names heads of namesake brand, Banana Republic

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

AT&T pays $23.8 M to settle hazardous-waste case

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9